How This Textile Designer Keeps Things Super Sustainable
In 2009, when Anjali Purohit was brainstorming ideas for her new textile company, Variously, she knew it needed to be sustainable. But that term means different things to different people—is it about the people involved in production? Or about the environmental impact? For Anjali, the answer was both...and more. She got to work researching everything from how to empower the artisans in India weaving her product to how to reduce packaging waste. Here are four of her biggest takeaways.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, AND MORE RESEARCH
“I spent a lot of time researching artisans before committing to working with them—not only their quality of work but also what kind of infrastructure they work in, including social and economic factors. I also questioned how the supply chain really works with raw materials like the dyes, finishing, etc.—how are those people being treated? I dug into all of this so I could have a really high level of transparency.”
“There are a few questions I ask about each design to make sure it’s sustainable, like is it friendly to our existing production, and is it something we can produce in small batches? I make sure that the yarn and dyes that I’m are using are natural and organic. Additionally, the drying of the fabric is important—it’s better both throughout the supply chain and on the consumer level if something can be air-dried and not done by a machine. All of that has an impact.”
“I do a lot of trial runs in order to understand the making of a good product. Once I’m sure I have something that can be really functional and used by just about anyone, we produce a small capsule collection using the same methods. Fast fashion is a really big threat to the artisans, so it’s important to me to make something meaningful and high-quality that will last and bring awareness to their work. Many of the techniques they use are over 1,000 years old, and I really want to try and preserve them so they don’t get lost.”
THE WHOLE PACKAGE
“Packaging is another thing I check. Mine is an undyed canvas pouch, which can be reused to store and carry accessories while people are traveling. Since it’s made using natural fabric, it’s more breathable as packaging for our handwoven textiles, and that helps the pieces last longer as well. The same cluster of artisans who weave for Variously also stitch the pouches, which keeps our supply chain inclusive and provides more work.”